David Ly

David Ly is the author of Mythical Man (2020), which was shortlisted for the 2021 ReLit Poetry Award, and Dream of Me as Water (2022), both published under the Anstruther Books imprint of Palimpsest Press. He is also co-editor (with Daniel Zomparelli) of Queer Little Nightmares: An Anthology of Monstrous Fiction and Poetry (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2022).

David’s poems have appeared in publications such as Arc Poetry Magazine, Best Canadian Poetry, PRISM International, and The Puritan, where he won the inaugural Austin Clarke Prize in Literary Excellence. David is the Poetry Editor at This Magazine.

Photo credit: Joy Gyamfi

What first sparked your interest in poetry?

What first had me interested in poetry was when I took a creative writing course on poetry for my Bachelor’s. Up until then, I never gravitated to poetry, considering it too hard to understand. But when I started writing (for that class) material that I saw as poetry, I think that’s when the idea sparked in me that poetry doesn’t have to be convoluted and writing that goes over my head. Instead, I began writing poems that I understood with clear and precise language and imagery.

You are the Poetry Editor at This Magazine. How has being an editor strengthened your abilities as a poet, and vice versa?

If anything, I feel like I have developed a harsher critical eye for my own work. Since becoming a Poetry Editor, I can see that my self-editing process is more rigorous and oftentimes longer than it takes me to write out a first draft. Also, I feel very lucky to work with many poets whose works inspire me, challenging me to write in ways that I wouldn’t have before!